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Chic shower themes for moms-to-be

Throwing a baby shower in the 21st century can be difficult for women who feel as though they are obliged to conform to traditional shower norms of the past - but breaking free from these conventions can often make for a truly unique and momentous modern day bash. If you're looking to celebrate a contemporary mom-to-be, here are some tips and tricks that can help you throw a memorable get-together that breaks all of the rules.

Invitations. With the internet now often outperforming the postal service, it is acceptable and even preferable to send out e-vites rather than paper invitations for any sort of gathering and several websites are available online to help create customized guest lists and coordinate RSVPs. Although traditional baby showers are generally women-only events, inviting the dad-to-be and other fathers has become a popular trend in the last five years as an emphasis has been placed on the importance of co-parenting.

Decorations. For a modern co-ed shower, traditional decorations in light pink and baby blue simply won't do and party hosts should plan on developing a theme for their event that can translate well across genders and generations, like a backyard barbecue. Display the various sonogram pictures that have been taken alongside pictures of the expecting couple by hanging them on a clothesline to show off the little one and get guests excited about the baby-to-be! Other decoration ideas include colored paper LED lanterns in funky shapes and bright colors, engraved glass photo vases containing pictures of the pregnant mother and her partner and personalized plastic champagne flutes for a celebratory toast.

Food. Giving the dads of the party a chance to break out the grill will likely keep them busy long enough for gift-opening time, so food should be kept simple - stick to the traditional hamburgers and hot dogs that accompany outdoor gatherings. Asking each guest to bring a side dish is a fun and inexpensive way to make sure there is enough of a variety in the food served, and using personalized plastic cups and napkins is a decorative way to make clean up a breeze.

Gifts. Asking guests to bring hand-me-down items is a fun way to spark conversations about parenting and will help the expecting couple better prepare for the arrival of their little one. Baby shower playing cards are an excellent shower favor for pic-nic style showers as they can be used throughout the actual celebration itself during any lull and will be appreciated by both men and women attending the event.